Welcome to this week’s edition of Weekend Wonderings. Basketball season is finally over. Congratulations to the UConn Huskies for winning the men’s and the women’s NCAA Championships. Let the good times roll in Storrs, CT. The OSU football team’s Spring game was yesterday, but I’m sure that I’ll have some thoughts in next week’s edition.
Well-Known Cancer Gene NRAS Produces Five Variants, Study Finds
A new study shows that a gene discovered 30 years ago and now known to play a fundamental role in cancer development produces five different gene variants (called isoforms), rather than just the one original form, as thought.
The study of the NRAS gene by researchers at the (OSUCCC – James) identified four previously unknown variants that the NRAS gene produces. The finding might help improve drugs for cancers in which aberrant activation of NRAS plays a crucial role. It also suggests that NRAS might affect additional target molecules in cells, the researchers say.
The isoforms show striking differences in size, abundance and effects. For example, the historically known protein (isoform 1) is 189 amino-acids long, while one of the newly discovered variants, isoform 5, is only 20 amino-acids long. Isoform 5 was the most aggressive variant in proliferation and transformation assays.
The last sentence and a half are not surprising. A smaller, “stripped-down” gene is much more likely to reproduce more quickly than its “bigger” brethren. As such, the isoform 5 variant may be the most dangerous of the five that were identified. As long as I’m on genes..
Here’s an article by Rameek Roychowdhury MD, PhD that explains genomics and its use at The James. It is a good, short overview, and a very good read.
Welcome to Monday Musings, I’m glad that you stopped in. You may want to grab a beverage or two before we get started. Go ahead, I’ll wait..
I have a bit of news on an interesting research topic just released this past week. A study led by Dr. Pravin Kaumaya, PhD has had some success in preliminary tests of developing a cancer vaccine to inhibit cancer cell growth in several types of cancer; such as breast, lung, colon and head and neck.
Here’s the advantage with using a peptide-based vaccine. Small proteins called peptides offer potentially safer, more effective and less costly alternatives to antibody-based drugs now used to treat many cancers. (Emphasis mine). I know from second-hand experience that the highlighted traits are significant. If this vaccine development can deliver the results as anticipated, it would be a tremendous advance in cancer treatment.
“Our findings could lead to novel peptide vaccines and mimetic inhibitors that target HER1 in tumors of the breast, lung, colon and head and neck, and that overcome many of the significant shortcomings of antibody-based drugs such as cetuximab,” says principal investigator Pravin Kaumaya, PhD, director of the division of vaccine development at the OSUCCC – James.
“Such peptide agents might enable the development of combination immunotherapies using either HER2 vaccines or VEGF therapy that avoid the mechanisms of resistance or secondary treatment failures sometimes experienced with antibody treatment,” says Kaumaya, who is also professor of obstetrics and gynecology, of molecular and cellular biochemistry, and of microbiology at Ohio State.
Welcome to Monday Musings, glad to see you. Grab your coffee and let’s tee it up.
A quiet week with events and happenings on the medical front.
Sort of related
My brother-in-law (BIL), a professional sports fan (NHL, NFL) shot me a text regarding Ohio State’s opening football game against University of Buffalo. He felt that if the noon start was a tee-time, it might be an interesting contest. If it were a football game, it would get pretty ugly. I assured him that it would be ugly either way.
I mention this because due to his affliction and connection (Dr. Caligiuri) he consults with staff from The James, and he is a bit disaffected with the reprobates in the NFL. I think I may be able to turn this not-a-college fan into a Buckeye fan yet. And I still managed to tie in The James this week…